Dairy Report: Lawsuit Against DFA, fairlife Launches Coffee Creamers

11:44AM Jan 21, 2020
Fairlife coffee creamer
Fairlife coffee creamer
( Fairlife )

A southern Missouri city is suing a Dairy Farmers of America plant saying it is regularly releasing untreated waste water into a river. Meanwhile, fairlife is releasing a new product line of lactose free coffee creamers. AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths explains more in this week’s Dairy Report.

Missouri City Sues, Alleging Dairy Contaminated River

A southern Missouri city alleges in a lawsuit that a Dairy Farmers of America plant is regularly releasing untreated wastewater into a river.

Cabool is seeking $1.2 million in reimbursement, claiming in the suit that it has to spend more money with its own wastewater treatment to address the problem. The suit also seeks other compensation and for the court to order DFA to stop releasing untreated wastewater into the Big Piney River, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

The city says it first became aware of the potential issue in February 2018. The lawsuit mentions 26 specific dates, most recently Aug. 21, 2019.

The suit says the dairy's actions damage the quality of the river and open the city to violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to Monica Massey, executive vice president of DFA, the cooperative started working with the City of Cabool to remedy this situation long before the lawsuit was filed. 

"We deny the allegations that they’re making against us," she says. "They’re putting the blame squarely on DFA and we would say that while we use the facility and there are times that we might overburden the facility the blame doesn’t fall on us." 

Massey says the DFA plant has its own waste water treatment plant and a water treatment plan in place. Meanwhile, DFA pays the city of Cabool a monthly fee between $18,000 and $20,000 intended to cover the maintenance of the facility, she adds. 

"We would say they have antiquated facility and maybe haven’t managed it well," she says adding the facility covers a host of residential and industrial entities. 

Court documents filed in the case say the Missouri Department of Natural Resources found the DFA in violation of its treatment permit in July.

DFA says the City of Cabool refuses to work with them toward a solution at this point.

The Big Piney River is 110 miles (177.03 kilometers) long and is a tributary of the Gasconade River.

fairlife Launches Dairy, Lactose Free Coffee Creamers

Branching out from their signature ultra-filtered milk products lineup, fairlife is stepping into the dairy coffee creamer arena. Available in four different flavors; hazelnut, caramel, vanilla and sweet cream, the creamers contain 40% less sugar than regular coffee creamers and are also lactose free. 

“Today, the creamer category is dominated by choices that lean heavily on indulgent flavors,” says Bill Kelly, chief marketing officer at fairlife in a recent press release.“As sales of premium coffee grow, our research shows that many consumers want to enhance the taste of their coffee, not cover it up.”

According to a 2019 Mintel report, the coffee category is expected to grow from $15.1 billion in 2019 to $18.5 billion by 2024. Growing alongside it, the creamer market is projected to grow from $6.1 billion to $7.5 billion. 

“We created Fairlife creamers to provide these coffee drinkers with a great-tasting option that offers real dairy with a hint of flavor to enhance their coffee experience,” Kelly says in the press release. “Our creamers are made with ultra-filtered milk and 40% less sugar than other creamers. It’s just another way to offer consumers delicious products with enhanced nutrition profiles.”

At the beginning of 2020, the Coca-Cola Company announced that it had acquired the remaining stake in fairlife LLC from its joint venture partner Select Milk Producers. 

“We are excited for the next chapter of fairlife’s growth and innovation and look forward to continuing to work with our partners across the Coca-Cola system to meet fast-changing consumer needs in a vibrant category,” fairlife CEO Tim Doelman said in a press release. “We set out in 2012 to harness the power and nutrition of dairy and give people great-tasting products that provide the nutrition they are looking for. Our innovative product lines will continue to grow and improve with the strength and scale of The Coca-Cola Company.”

To see previous Dairy Report coverage, watch:

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